Fraud: Scandal casts fresh doubt on 2018 election of Bolsonaro

A former ally of Jair Bolsonaro has revealed new evidence of Federal Police collusion during the 2018 presidential election, prompting calls for the result to be annulled and new elections held.

The 2018 elections have been mired in controversy since before they began, with the jailing and exclusion of frontrunner Lula da Silva casting a shadow over their legitimacy, and an illegal campaign of digital disinformation, or fake news, already the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. Brasil Wire has reported extensively on evidence that the 2018 elections were neither free nor fair.

More recently it came to light that Sergio Moro and the Lava Jato task force intentionally and illegally leaked false corruption allegations about Lula’s stand-in candidate, Fernando Haddad, in order to damage his chances in the second round runoff against Bolsonaro. It is a crime to leak accusations against candidates during official election season.

Following his victory, Moro was duly rewarded with the newly created Justice and Security super ministry in the resulting Bolsonaro government. Moro recently resigned citing the President’s demand that an ally be appointed head of the Federal Police in order to protect his family.

The latest bombshell is confirmation of allegations made during the election, namely that a Federal Police investigation involving employees of the Bolsonaro family was frozen for the duration of the election so as not to damage the far-right candidate’s chances.

The beleagured Bolsonaro, who came to power with the support of both the U.S., U.K. governments, and powerful Wall Street interests, is currently the target of 31 impeachment requests filed with congressional president Rodrigo Maia. So far Maia has not accepted any of them, with some suggestion that Bolsonaro still has too much support for a successful impeachment vote in congress.

Now federal deputy Alessandro Molon of the PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party) has demanded a Congressional inquiry into the 2018 elections.

On social media, the congressman wrote: “Bolsonaro said the elections had been rigged. He was right, but his family participated in the fraud! The evidence is there: the 2018 elections were rigged to favour the current president! CPI NOW TO INVESTIGATE!”

The information has come to light in a Folha interview by journalist Monica Bergamo of businessman Paulo Marinho, who had worked with Jair Bolsonaro during his election campaign and is an alternate to his son and senator, Flavio.

Marinho revealed that Flavio Bolsonaro told him that he was informed of the existence of an imminent Federal Police investigation concerning embezzlement and money laundering – the so called Queiroz case, named after his aide – between the first and second rounds of the elections.

He was warned by a Federal Police delegate who supported Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential candidacy.

According to Marinho, the delegate told Flavio Bolsonaro: ‘I suggest that you take action. I am a voter, supporter, sympathizer of the [Jair Bolsonaro] campaign, and we are going to put this operation on hold so as not to detonate it now, during the second round, because it can hinder the [presidential] election results.’

Flavio then related the story to his father who told him to fire assistant Querioz and his daughter immediately. The case was then frozen until after the elections were over. Operation Furna da Onça as it was called was initiated on November 8, with Bolsonaro secured as president elect.

The identity of the delegate who warned the Bolsonaro family has added a further level of intrigue. Journalist Reinaldo Azevedo reports in UOL that Alexandre Ramagem, whom Bolsonaro wanted to appoint head of the Federal Police, was involved in Police Operation Cadeia Velha, which spawned Furna da Onça, thus is now suspected of being the insider who both warned the Bolsonaros of the imminent threat, and delayed the Police investigation to protect their election campaign.

“Yes, it is the delegate who started to take care of Bolsonaro’s personal security, who was later taken on as advisor to the Government Secretariat, jumping from there to the command of Abin (Brazil’s federal intelligence agency) and whom the president wanted to put in charge of the Federal Police.” Azevedo writes, calling it an “incredible coincidence”.

Marinho The 68-year old PSDB pre-candidate for Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, also revealed that another once Bolsonaro ally, deceased former Minister Gustavo Bebianno, left a telephone with a confidant in the United States, which contains many months worth of potentially incriminating conversations with the President.

The latest revelations add to the growing clamour for an end to Bolsonaro’s presidency, with politicians now demanding that the 2018 election be annulled. A new impeachment request launched by congressman Enio Verri is combined with a constitutional amendment which would require new elections in the event of the president’s removal. This move is intended as a safeguard against his vice, General Hamilton Mourão, assuming the presidency, which would consolidate military rule in Brazil.